Kagame Is Sponsoring A Christian Convention In Washington After Closing 7,000 Churches And Jailing Church Leaders

By David Himbara

Bishop John Rucyahana will lead the Kagame Washington Christian convention. The Bishop is a member of President Paul Kagame’s ruling party, Rwandan Patriotic Front — seen here at the party’s convention. The Bishop is also a member of Kagame’s Presidential Advisory Council.

President Paul Kagame is sponsoring a Christian convention in Washington, DC, on August 24 — 26, 2018. The Rwanda Christian Convention will be led by Bishop John Rucyahana, member of President Paul Kagame’s ruling party, the Rwandan Patriotic Front. The purpose of the convention is said to bring together Rwandans in diaspora under “Unified Christians for a Unified Nation.” The event in Washington promises ”to reach the hearts of many Rwandans through phenomenal worship, electrifying word, and the beautiful fellowship” purportedly to unite Rwandans.

The Kagame-sponsored Christian convention in Washington is an irony of ironies. Kagame just closed hundreds of churches in Rwanda and hauled Christian leaders into his dungeons.

Kagame’s Christian convention in Washington takes place in the aftermath of subjecting Christians in Rwanda to hell.

Churches are neither boreholes for water nor factories that provide work — said Kagame.

While Kagame is sponsoring a Christian convention in Washington, DC, he has recently subjected Christians inside Rwanda to hell on earth. In April 2018, Kagame closed over 7,000 churches. He imprisoned Christians including a Bishop and pastors who dared to protest against church closures. Prior to church closures, places of worship were the only spaces left for freedom of expression. This is now shut — as other civil society arenas now deemed to be threats to national security.

Kagame did not hide his contempt for Christians when closing churches. He said that churches are neither factories that provide work nor boreholes that supply water. As Kagame put it, this was ”a mess” to be cleaned up by sharply reducing churches in Rwanda. Moreover, churches were unhygienic and noise pollutants. To further suppress the number of churches, Kagame introduced a new draconian law which requires all practicing pastors to have a university degree. This from a ruler who never stepped in a university, and yet leads a nation of 12 million and is chairman of the African Union with a population of one billion people. If Kagame can lead these millions without a university degree, surely a pastor can lead a community of one hundred. Leadership is not a university education. Kagame’s advisor, Bishop Rucyahana should share with the president, Bible verses about preachers — for example Timothy 3:1–16:

”If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task. Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God’s church?”

Leadership is about trustworthiness and commitment — not university degrees.

The US Christian community should not be deceived by Kagame’s Convention in Washington.


The Kagame convention in Washington is a sham PR intended to conceal his brutal persecution of Christians in Rwanda. Kagame will not succeed. Rwandan activists beat Kagame to Washington and told the real Rwandan tragic story. These Rwandans were part of the week-long activities in July 2018 to bring greater awareness of persecuted Christians around the world. The Rwandan participants shared with leaders and visitors to the US Capitol, Kagame’s legacy of gross human rights abuses that have lately targeted Christians in particular.


American leaders are aware of what Kagame stands for. In the Senate hearing, Secretary of State Michael Pompeo expressed his dismay and promised to determine American response to Kagame’s repression. Ambassador Sam Brownback, the US ambassador-at-large for religious freedoms, witnessed the exhibits of persecuted Christians in Rwanda. Kagame’s sham Christian convention in DC will therefore not weaken the US spotlight on his ferocious and violent regime. Meanwhile, we await the fulfillment of US Secretary of State’s promise to the Senate — namely, the pronouncement of the American response to Kagame’s repression of Christians.